Research Interests :
Developmental origin of adipocytes
A research interest of my group is to delineate the developmental origin of adipocytes by using bioimaging and other analytic approaches. We are investigating several mouse and human models of obesity, lipodystrophy and other metabolic disorders. It is also of interest to study the difference between white and brown adipocytes, between visceral and subcutaneous fat, or between preadipocytes and multipotent adipose stem cells.
Clinical application of adipose-derived stem cells
Fat tissue is an abundant source of proliferating, multipotent stem cells. My previous work demonstrated that the adipose-derived stem cells (ASC) both from human and mice are capable of reprogramming into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) with high efficiencies and in the absence of feeder cells. It is now possible to use this ASC-iPSC system to engineer the cells into clinically useful cell types for regenerative therapeutics and study development of metabolic pathways in human. The focus of my group is to develop a disease modeling system where fat biopsies from patients with certain genetic lesions are converted into relevant cell types, enabling us to study molecular mechanisms and etiologies of human disorders.